JAY: What does Rwanda gain? Why is this in Rwandans’ interest to so destabilize this section of the Congo?
CARNEY: Rwanda’s interests are several-fold. And one, in their destabilizing the Congo, Rwanda is able to continue to benefit from Congo’s riches. Both Dow Jones and Bloomberg news have reported Rwanda has gained hundreds of millions of dollars in trading Congo’s minerals, its coltan and tin in particular. Bloomberg News said that Rwanda was one of two top traders of Congo’s conflict minerals – you know, tin, tungsten, and tantalum.
JAY: But how are they doing this? Are they making deals directly with these mutinous soldiers? Or how are they doing this?
CARNEY: Well, I mean, the rebel groups control mines. They have access to the mines. And they, you know, gather the resources that are mined and are then shipped across the Rwandan border without Congo taxing it; or it’s actually smuggled into Rwanda and then Rwanda sells it to the global market. As long as the Congolese state doesn’t have full control of over the east of the country and the borders are porous, then it’s like an open-air supermarket where Rwanda and Uganda can come in and basically take at will Congo’s gold, its tin, its coltan, its wolframite, and trade it in their own countries as if it was produced by Rwanda itself or produced by Uganda. So that’s been the pattern since 1996 when both Rwanda and Uganda invaded Congo.
JAY: And what’s the role of the international mining companies in this conflict?
CARNEY: Well, the roles of the international mining companies are several. One, they purchase the elicit minerals from Rwanda and from Uganda. Two, because you have a weakened Congolese state, they’re also able to enter into contracts with that Congo state and benefit tremendously from the natural resources of the Congo. So there are many beneficiaries. You have the Rwandan government, military officials in Rwanda, multinational corporations, elites in the Congo itself, and they all benefit at the expense of the Congolese people, who are suffering tremendously from the instability that’s been fostered and supported by the Rwandan regime.
JAY: Now, when President Obama was Senator Obama, didn’t he actually propose a bill or support a bill that would call for more accountability for Rwanda and Uganda? And what’s his record on that if that’s right?
CARNEY: Yes, he actually sponsored a bill that was passed into law in 2006, signed into law by George Bush, Democratic Republic of Congo Relief, Security, and Democracy Promotion Act, which was also co-sponsored by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. However, to date, since President Obama’s been in office he hasn’t acted on that law. There’s a particular section of the law that calls on the secretary of state to hold Congo’s neighbours accountable, provided that there’s sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the Congo’s neighbours are involved in destabilizing the country. And there’s an abundance of evidence. There’s more than enough evidence. In fact, I was sharing with you earlier that both Sweden and the Netherlands withheld aid from Rwanda because of the evidence that was produced that demonstrated that Rwanda was destabilizing the Congo. So here it is that two European nations that do not have such a law on their books, they’re acting.
JAY: What is the American attitude, then, towards this UN report? Because if this report actually went public and did contain the things that the leak says it does or should contain, in theory, wouldn’t that trigger the legislation?
CARNEY: Well, it should certainly trigger the legislation – not the legislation, the law. It’s law. It should trigger the law. And the U.S. response has been shocking, because really this is the situation that we have. We have rebel groups inside the Congo led by one Bosco Ntaganda, who’s wanted by the International Criminal Court. So rebel groups hereto were committing crimes, and these rebel groups are been supported by Rwanda. And then we have the United States that’s covering for Rwanda. So for all intents and purposes, the United States is supporting rebel groups inside of Congo that are wanted by the International Criminal Court, because they have blocked and delayed reports coming out and covered for Rwanda. Even when the U.S. issued a statement – the U.S. ambassador in Congo issued a statement about the rebel groups, and they didn’t even mention Rwanda by name. They said those outside forces that are supporting rebel groups should be held to account. They didn’t even mention Rwanda’s name. Today even the Rwandan foreign minister was at the United Nations, and the arrogance with which he spoke, as if Rwanda is not involved at all – it’s just incredible that the United States is putting its neck out as it is, to be embarrassed in the global community for supporting rebel groups inside the Congo through [its support of] Rwanda.
JAY: Thanks very much for joining us, Maurice.
CARNEY: Al right. Thank you.